Case History
“Harrington has enjoyed strong growth due to our commitment to our customers, vendors, and employees, providing mission critical products and technical service. We are pleased to have partnered with Nautic, who has supported our growth and evolution over the past three years, after the carve-out from prior corporate ownership.”
Dave Abercrombie, CEO, Harrington Industrial Plastics
“Nautic was a strong partner and supported us as we implemented commercial and operational changes at Harrington after transitioning to a standalone company from prior corporate ownership. We greatly enjoyed working with Nautic and are excited to continue to grow with our customers and vendors in Harrington’s next chapter.”
Bob Graham, COO, Harrington Industrial Plastics


The Harrington opportunity was identified as part of Nautic’s proactive thematic investing strategy within industrial distribution. After executing a carve-out transaction of Harrington from its corporate parent in March 2020, Nautic worked to enhance the management team, who we then supported to drive a number of initiatives at the company, including: leveraging sales and operations data in an effort to drive productivity and growth; an overhaul of the supply chain and procurement functions to seek to drive gross profit gains; the institution of improved operating procedures and better utilization of technology to generate operating leverage; and the establishment of demand creation programs with vendors to yield better access to products. Nautic also assisted Harrington with the execution of three add-on acquisitions that diversified the company’s service offering. Nautic sold Harrington to Bain Capital in October 2023.

Business Overview

Founded in 1959 and headquartered in Chino, California, Harrington is a leading distributor of piping and other engineered fluid process products for corrosive and high purity applications. The company specializes in a variety of highly technical applications and products across categories including filtration, pumps, tanks, valves, and instrumentation.  With over 60 locations across the United States, Harrington provides solutions to vendors in a wide array of critical industries, including semiconductors, chemicals, food and beverage processing, manufacturing, water and waste management, aquatics, and life sciences.

The Situation

Prior to Nautic’s carve-out in 2020, Harrington was a U.S. distribution subsidiary of a European pipe manufacturer.  While Nautic observed that Harrington had a strong market position, diversified customer base, and a national footprint, we believed that there was an opportunity to improve the operations of the business and to accelerate growth via investment in the sales force. Nautic saw the potential of a significant opportunity to establish a market leader and scaled player in the specialty process solutions distribution sector by seeking opportunities to accelerate organic share gain, capitalize on strong tailwinds in fast-growing end markets, realize meaningful earnings growth by executing on commercial and operational “levers” with which Nautic had prior experience, and pursue accretive M&A.  Nautic also believed that the carve-out nature of the transaction represented an opportunity to leverage our past corporate carve-out experience and playbook in an effort to drive value creation.

What We Did

Nautic utilized its executive network to bring strong operating resources to support the Harrington platform in an advisory capacity. Nautic recruited Bob Grubbs, the former CEO of a large, established industrial distributor, to be the executive chairman of Harrington under our ownership.  Bill Standish, the former COO of the same industrial distributor, also joined Harrington’s board of directors after our investment. Bob Grubbs and Bill Standish, along with the Nautic investment team and Nautic Operating Advisor Rob Marchbank, who has deep experience as a former CEO of multiple industrial distribution companies, played an important role in supporting Harrington management in implementing a number of commercial and operational initiatives. These initiatives included the formation of internal product specialist teams to seek to drive sales of more highly engineered fluid processing products and increase partnership and planning with strategic vendors, the creation of new, data-driven pricing and product leveling programs and an associated salesforce compensation structure redesign, and the introduction of a new procurement strategy that leveraged Harrington’s scale in an effort to drive savings, and other efforts.  Nautic also oversaw the development and formalization of Harrington’s in-house M&A program in partnership with management and Nautic Operating Advisor Rob Marchbank. Over the course of Nautic’s investment period, Harrington acquired and integrated three add-on acquisitions, adding complementary plastic fabrication capabilities to the platform and expanding Harrington’s distribution reach.

Certain statements about Nautic made by portfolio company executives herein are intended to illustrate Nautic’s business relationship with such persons, including with respect to Nautic’s facilities as a business partner, rather than Nautic’s capabilities or expertise with respect to investment advisory services. Portfolio company executives were not compensated in connection with their participation, although they generally receive compensation and investment opportunities in connection with their portfolio company roles, and in certain cases are also owners of portfolio company securities and/or investors in Nautic-sponsored vehicles. Such compensation and investments subject participants to potential conflicts of interest in making the statements herein.